We are currently at the precipice of the second wave of Covid-19 here in Zambia, and I wanted to take the time to update you, and most importantly, reassure you on how we are weathering this storm.
Up until 2021, in comparison to the rest of the world, we in Zambia did not feel the full weight of the global pandemic. However, 2021 has brought with it the second wave of the virus and we join the rest of the world with each and every one of us now knowing someone who is affected. According to Zambia’s Ministry of Health, there have been 6,146 new confirmed cases recorded between 4th-10th January alone.
Notwithstanding our personal lives, our Company has also been impacted. We have temporarily shut-down our Lusaka and Nyimba sites due to the direct exposure of one our colleagues to the virus, and in line with the directive from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor, our offices were immediately closed and fumigated.
At BCP, we believe in People before Profit, it is a founding pillar of our organization and one that we have upheld throughout these trying times.
‘BCPeople’ are our first priority:
• In direct response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Zambia early last year, BCP acted to ensure the safety of its staff; Alongside Zambian Government regulations of maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and washing and sanitizing hands, BCP went a step further and allocated private company transport for employees who do not have access to private vehicles. The initiative ensures that BCP employees avoid the higher risks of infection associated with overcrowding, often found on public transport, which not only protects our employee body, but decreases the risk for staffs’ family members as well;
• As of 1 May 2020, BCP implemented the Healthy Green Allowance, a policy that offers a daily, fully subsidized, healthy meal for employees across all 8 of our offices. In a move to ensure a happy and healthy workforce, the allowance has made a significant difference to the healthy well-being of our staff;
• Also in May, BCP facilitated the introduction of a private pension scheme for staff, in addition to the national statutory pension;
• In June 2020, BCP introduced an increased funeral cover benefit that was extended to each and every staff member (with the inclusion of 8 family members to the benefit coverage);
• In January 2020, BCP staff, many of whom live in remote areas with limited employment possibilities, received an average increment of 10% across the board. In addition to that, we introduced a salary subsidy for the lowest-paid members of BCP staff of 18% higher than the statutory minimum, and in August, a verification spot bonus pool from 2020 was paid out;
• We introduced a USD 2,800 Emergency Loan Fund to help staff who face emergencies;
• All staff and their families have access to a company medical fund.
I need to extend my sincere thanks and admiration to the BCP team, who have remained resilient, strong, and adaptable during such uncertain times. This steadfastness has meant that our mission to conserve wildlife, protect forests, and continue to support over 224,000 community beneficiaries has remained at the forefront of our work. To our Government partners, our partners in conservation, and our carbon offset buyers – I thank you for your continued backing. Please know that the support from you at this time means more now than ever to our community partners.
We will weather this storm – together.
With very warm wishes,
Dr. Hassan Sachedina